What does a recruiter do?

A recruiter is someone who recruits and selects staff to fill a client’s projects. He can draw on his own network, industry-specific knowledge and other sources. The core task of the recruiter is to balance the wishes of the employer and those of the employee.

Many types of recruiters can be distinguished, although it should be noted that in many companies the roles may overlap to some extent. For example, the roles of recruiters and intermediaries are very similar or their functions are almost identical. The following four basic types of recruiters are distinguished:


A recruiter recruits new personnel for a company. Most of the time, they work for the company they are recruiting for and work in human resource management. They take care of the company’s internal onboarding strategy, discuss the desired skills with the departments, search for suitable applicants via various sources and interview them.

Personnel consultant

Recruitment consultants work for traditional recruitment agencies where they find suitable candidates for companies looking to implement a specific project or fill a specific position.
Interim recruitment consultants place freelancers and interim candidates, often referred to as self-employed, interim managers or contractors.


Headhunter comes from the English and was formerly also called bounty hunter. Headhunters are specialized recruiters who specialize in recruiting and selecting candidates who are qualified professionals or managers. Due to the shortage of skilled workers in Germany, you often have to poach candidates from the companies where they work. You access your pool of contacts, write job ads for passive search and actively contact candidates via social media and networking.

Executive search

Executive search is a subcategory of recruitment. Executive searchers specialise in the selection and recruitment of candidates for senior positions in business (usually with an annual salary of €120,000 or more). These can include CEOs and other executive roles. The number of qualified individuals is small, and these important positions are correspondingly difficult to fill – it is often necessary to poach individuals who already occupy a high position in a company.

Main tasks

The task of the recruiter is to find a match between supply and demand in the labour market. The vacancies in a company must be filled with the best possible candidates available at that time. On the other hand, as a recruiter, they must propose a candidate for the job who is the most suitable based on their knowledge, skills, ambitions and interests.

What are the tasks of a recruiter?

A recruiter’s scope of work may include the following tasks:

– Advertisement of a project or position to be filled

– Selection of the most effective recruitment channels

– Selection and approach of potential candidates

– Management of contacts and call processes

– Conducting interviews with the candidate

– Screening of candidates / checking of references

– Coaching of candidates during the application process

– Negotiation of salary and secondary working conditions of candidates

Specific tasks of personnel dispatchers:

– Customer acquisition

– Negotiation and conclusion of employment contracts with clients

– Conclusion of the employment contract with the candidates

– Handling administrative and legal matters related to the employment contract

– Maintaining contact with existing customers

– Screening of candidates / checking of references

– Coaching of candidates during the application process

– Negotiation of salary and secondary working conditions of candidates

Specific tasks of personnel consultants, executive search and headhunters:

– Customer acquisition

– Negotiation and conclusion of employment contracts with clients

– Development of interesting proposals for customers

– Nomination of suitable candidates for the recruitment organisation

– Possible handling of administrative and legal matters (e.g. time recording)

– Maintaining contact with managers and personnel departments

Specific tasks of recruiters:

– Optimal presentation of the searching organization (as an employer)

– Fast reaction to changes

– Resolving problems with the person deployed

– Conclusion of the employment contract with new employees

– Possible conclusion of agreements on cooperation with external employment agencies and recruiters

– Maintaining contact with managers and personnel departments


Where a recruiter works depends on the type of recruitment agency. Recruiters often work in the corporate world and are therefore hired by larger companies. A recruiter works in employment agencies, while recruiters work for staffing agencies. Headhunters are hired by what are called executive search agencies.

Generally, recruiters work in HR departments and maintain contact with HR staff, recruiters, HR administrators, marketing managers, project managers, department heads, secretaries and communications staff.


Since 2011, the IHK further education offers the possibility to complete a training to become a personnel consultant. Previously, it was possible to work in personnel consulting without any professional training. The training to become a personnel consultant at the IHK is not legally binding, but is nevertheless welcome in the industry.

Most training courses are part-time and can take the form of classroom or distance learning. On average, the training takes 3 months and costs between 650€ and 1,600€.

There is no classic course of study to become a recruiter. However, the following courses of study may prove helpful:

– Business administration

– Humanresourcemanagement

– Psychology

– Business psychology


The starting salary of a freelance recruiter is around 42,900€ gross per year. Later in their career, the average annual salary is around 60,000€ per year. Top candidates earn up to 122,000€ per year.

How much does a recruiter earn?

Starting salary42.900€
Average salary60.000€
Top salary122.000 €

The hourly rate of recruiters is on average 95€ per hour. For an 8-hour working day, the daily rate is therefore €760 per day.